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If you enjoyed this you might enjoy Jeffrey Archer's prison diaries - he was a British politician jailed for perjury in the 2000s who wrote up his time inside: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Prison-Diary-1-Hell/dp/0330418599



I would heartily recommend "Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass" by Dr. Theodore Dalrymple.

It gives keen insight into the cultural mindset of victimization that produces the persistent underclass. From the overview: "Theodore Dalrymple, a British psychiatrist who treats the poor in a slum hospital and a prison in England, has seemingly seen it all. Yet in listening to and observing his patients, he is continually astonished by the latest twist of depravity that exceeds even his own considerable experience. Dalrymple's key insight in Life at the Bottom is that long-term poverty is caused not by economics but by a dysfunctional set of values, one that is continually reinforced by an elite culture searching for victims. This culture persuades those at the bottom that they have no responsibility for their actions and are not the molders of their own lives."


Isn't this self contradictory? Instead of taking personal responsibility for a failed set of values, instead the author blames an "elite culture searching for victims".


This "everyone has ultimate personal responsibility" way of thinking is uniquely American as far as I can see. Even without giving much leeway to self-victimization politics, analysis leads clearly to (1) you not being a coherent agency, often getting besides yourself or outside of your mind; or even not being the same person who shoplifted as a teen and (2) you been in many important ways a drop in an ocean, an atom of mass being. Of course individuality plays a very important role in the Enlightenment kind of rational civilization we strive for, but it doesn't mean non-individuality ("dividuality" and "collectivity") are not huge aspects of how we live.

As Alain de Botton once put it, in England the poor are "unfortunates", in America they're losers.

In Dalrymple's world, elites have a duty to set the tone and the agenda; and they are instead shirking from making judgement calls and saying "good is good, bad is bad".I don't agree much (we have elites telling us how to think as it is), but he points in the general direction of something without hitting the bullseye.


Find a torrent of the book if you really want to read it don't go giving Archer any money.


If you like UK slang, look up what 'An Archer' is. Still hear this used today and it never fails to make me smile.


I think this might actually be hard to google.

An archer is £2000, the amount Conservative Party deputy chairman Jeffrey Archer was caught paying a prostitute to keep quiet about his allegedly being a client of hers.

I first heard this usage on The New Statesman (the Rick Mayall TV comedy), but it may have originated elsewhere.


Archer has sold 330 million copies of his books and thus has no pressing need for money. That however is no excuse for encouraging someone to steal from a writer however successful. What else would you encourage people to thieve and from whom? Anyone who's been to prison?


I'd buy Jonathan Aitken's book... (A fellow Tory jailbird). I do believe Aitken has somewhat reformed. Archer, not so much.

Edit to say that I agree with your point that theft is theft.


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330 millions copies ? Let's say for the thought experiment that it was sold only on the European continent (including Russia), it would mean that one in two people living in Europe bought a copy.

I find it hard to believe !


He’s written quite a bit more than one book (over 25). Sales are >250 million according to his website. His books are practically their own genre in the UK, if second hand shops are anything to go by.


He also said he raised £52 million for Iraqi Kurds a figure that KPMG said was bullshit. So I would not put too much faith in anything that he says.


Not this particular novel, he has written dozens.




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